Posted in Book Reviews, Reading and Reviewing

Meet Author Karen Shughart

A New Cozy Author.

B1dqRR8IRuS._US230_Karen Shughart, a new author with Cozy Cat Press, has a new book called Murder In The Museum.

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Early one gray November morning, retired Lighthouse Cove, NY police chief, Edmund DeCleryk, finds Emily Bradford’s body on the beach at the base of the bluff where the local museum and historical society stands. At the same time, a break-in has been reported at the museum, and Emily’s coat and purse are found hanging on a peg in the museum’s gift shop where she worked. Was her death the result of a burglary gone bad or something more sinister?

When the police chief is called out of town for a family emergency, he hires Ed, now working as a criminal consultant, to assist deputy police chief, Carrie Ramos, with the murder investigation. After several leads don’t pan out, the chief, now back in Lighthouse Cove, decides to close the case. Confident that with more time the murder can be solved, Ed is determined to continue investigating on his own, with encouragement from his wife, Annie the museum’s executive director.

One morning while in the basement of the museum, the couple discovers a copy of a map dated 1785, and Ed’s instincts tell him it may be connected to Emily’s death. On a hunch, he and Annie travel to Toronto, Canada, where he learns of the original map and a manuscript written in 1847 that was unearthed during an archaeological dig. The manuscript contains information about a ship that capsized during a fierce storm on Lake Ontario — in 1785. Now Ed has clues as to why the murder occurred, but he still doesn’t know who committed the crime. Or does he?

About Author Karen Shughart

Karen Shughart has worked professionally as a journalist, writer, editor, publicist and non-profit executive. Her passions include her family, cooking, gardening, writing, photography, walking, and learning new things. Karen’s first novel, Murder in the Museum: An Edmund DeCleryk Mystery (Cozy Cat Press, April 2018) is the first in a series that takes place in Lighthouse Cove, NY on the southern shores of Lake Ontario. It is available in all Amazon formats. In addition, she is the author of two non-fiction books: The Pennsylvania Bed and Breakfast Guide and Cookbook; and Creating Special Events, from Dollars to Dessert.

My Review

This mystery takes place in Lighthouse Cove, NY. From the opening pages until the end this well-written book will keep you captivated. I especially was intrigued by the Prologue and the way the characters were introduced in the first few chapters. A museum murder and a mystery tied to happenings many years ago weave together a  plot that is perfect for a mystery tied to a museum.

You can find Karen’s book on her Amazon page.

Visit her website at Karen Shughart.com

Posted in Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Virtual Enemies by Sharon Mierke

It is no secret I am a fan of Sharon Mierke and her writing. I read Virtual Enemies a couple of years ago and I decided to read it again. Beryl Swallows goes back home to attend the funeral of a classmate who committed suicide. She hadn’t seen her classmate or her friends in years. It seemed everyone had a secret and that included her dead classmate Mary Lou.

I find Sharon Mierke books comfortable reads. By that I mean they take you along with characters as if you fit into their lives and are standing right there observing everything. Not only did this mystery remind me we occasionally find the people who used to be important in our early years may change so you can’t really go back home. The book moves along easily but at no point could I guess whodunnit and believe me as a mystery writer I like to figure it out early in the book.

I am moving on again to her other books, the ones I have read and the ones I haven’t put on my kindle yet. Take the time and see what Author Sharon Mierke has to offer. You won’t be disappointed if you like Cozy Mysteries.

51lYcrtg2fL._AC_US218_Virtual Enemies

When Beryl Swallows attended the funeral of a former schoolmate, Mary Lou Sanders, she had no idea that instead of renewing old friendships, she would be making new enemies. She also did not know that she would find herself immersed in a murder investigation – hired for big bucks by Mary Lou herself. The question was: Was Mary Lou murdered or did she really commit suicide as her note indicated? After not seeing her former friends, Lydia, Julia and Esther, for almost thirty years, they were virtually strangers or as she was to find out, virtual enemies.

B1pPGxbFAAS._UX250_Sharon Mierke

Sharon Rose now writing as Sharon Mierke!

Sharon Mierke’s mother was a writer and her father, a photographer, so it seemed natural to drift into the writing field and also keep her love for photography. She began writing many years ago but it wasn’t until her four children had left home that she began to do some serious writing. While taking a three-year writing course, she had several short stories published and two novels: Who Needs Enemies? and Missed by a Hair (both now out of print). Sharon enjoys writing mysteries and historical fiction.

Her book, Virtual Enemies, is a mystery and introduces readers to Beryl Swallows, a retired police officer and now private investigator. In Virtual Enemies she is hired to solve a murder – by the victim herself. A mystery within a mystery. This is the first in the Beryl Swallows Mysteries. In the second, Case Closed.not, Beryl finds one of her mother’s old diaries and it takes her back into a past she never knew existed. Was her own mother a murderer?

Sharon has four current books in the Mabel Wickles mystery series: Deception by Design, Calamity by the Car Wash, Cold Case Conundrum, and Frozen Identity. Mabel is good at finding trouble; however, along with her friend, Flori, and other Parson’s Cove citizens, she always seems to find the way out. And find the guilty party.

Besides writing mysteries, Sharon writes historical fiction. Her first historical fiction, Sarah’s Valley, carries us on a journey from the east coast of the United States, through the Midwest, and up into Canada. Her second historical fiction, The Widow’s Walk, centers around life in the early 1800s on the Texas Panhandle and down to the island of Galveston. The sequel to Sarah’s Valley, Return to Sarah’s Valley, is now available on Amazon. Now it is Patrick’s turn to tell his life story to one of Winnipesaukee’s descendants.

Sharon’s books contain no graphic violence, sexual content, or coarse language.

Sharon Rose Mierke and her husband live in Manitoba, Canada, where the summers are hot and the winters, cold. They have four grown children and four grandchildren. Sharon’s hobbies include reading, scrapbooking, and photography.

Visit Sharon At:
Posted in Book Reviews, Guest Authors

Fatal Flip by M.E. Bakos

619dW7BCKsL._UX250_M. E. Bakos is a new author and Fatal Flip is her first book in the Home Renovator Mystery Series.

How many of us find ourselves in the midst of a life change? How many of us have the courage to follow our bliss?  Katelyn has lost her job and she is in the midst of a career change. Of course, changes do not always run smooth. Becoming a Rehab Specialist in Minnesota she runs into a snag when she finds a dead body in the middle of her first project. Let the hijinks begin.

I like stories about rehabbing houses. I always, being a mystery writer too, imagine what the homes could say if they could talk. M.E. Bakos does a very good job of weaving a tale of mystery and leading us through the clues and mystery surrounding the residents of Crocus Heights, Minnesota. Her characters and pets throw an interesting mix into the story.  I look forward to her next book.

51cg4SIQ+KLFatal Flip

Flipping houses can be fatal! When Katelyn finds a dead body in her first home renovation project, she seriously doubts her decision to “follow her bliss.” After getting fired from her steady job, her plan to flip houses takes a hit when she becomes a suspect. After all, possession is nine points of the law, isn’t it? Especially, when it’s a dead body.
To keep herself in pizza, peanut butter, good coffee, and her stray cat, Boots, in kitty chow she takes survival jobs as a wine sample hostess and market researcher. Meanwhile, Sheriff Don is kind of hunky, and her ex-husband, Eddy (it’s complicated) is back in her life sleeping on her sofa. How’s a girl supposed to solve dead body mysteries, make a living, and find love?

M. E. Bakos

M.E. Bakos has published several short stories in national women’s magazines. Her love of mysteries has led to writing cozies. Her first mystery short story, “Carpe Diem or Murder at the Carp Fest” appeared in the Festival of Crime, a SINC Anthology. Her second, “Perfect Storm . . . Perfect Murder” will be in Dark Side of the Loon, May, 2018 also a SINC Anthology.
Her first cozy, FATAL FLIP, A Home Renovator Mystery has several home improvement tips for the reader.
Mary is a member of Twin Cities Sisters in Crime, the SINC Guppies Group, and an alumna of the University of Minnesota. She is a lifelong resident of Minnesota and resides in Minneapolis with her husband, Joe Sebesta, and their spoiled Morkie.

Links to M. E. Bakos:

Amazon

Posted in Book Reviews

Mistletoe Murder by Karen MacInerney

71FRLNGMNHL._UX250_Karen MacInerney is fast becoming one of my favorite authors with her Dewberry Farm Mysteries. I haven’t read them in order but it hasn’t made a difference to my enjoyment. I want to live at Dewberry Farm and grow vegetables, make soap and live in Buttercup. Her characters make me care about them. Her mysteries leave me wanting more. This mystery takes place at Christmas time. We all know things are not always as they seem at this time of year and Lucy Resnick, newcomer to Buttercup always seems to have the misfortune of falling right into the middle of the conundrum of circumstances. Add a little romance and suspense to the Christmas holiday and settle in for the festivities. I give this book five stars.

61d4doeB1DLMistletoe Murder ( A Dewberry Farm Mystery)

It’s beginning to look a lot like… Murder. It’s Christmastime, and farmer Lucy Resnick is living the life she’s always dreamed of. When she’s not selling her jams, soaps, and mistletoe bundles at the Buttercup Christmas Market, she’s enjoying cozy evenings by the fire with her knitting group–or her handsome veterinarian boyfriend Tobias Brandt. But less than a week before Christmas, a pall falls over the festive atmosphere when local man Randy Stone turns up with a knife in his back… and a sprig of mistletoe in his hair. Local sheriff Rooster Kocurek, never the brightest bulb on the string, is convinced it’s an open-and-shut case–murder by jealous wife–but Lucy suspects otherwise. She soon discovers that Randy’s life was more tangled than last year’s Christmas lights… and that unless she wraps up the case fast, there might be more than one funeral this holiday season.

Karen MacInerney

Karen is the housework-impaired author of multiple mystery series, and her victims number well into the double digits. She lives in Austin, Texas with two sassy children, her husband, and a menagerie of animals, including twenty-three fish, two rabbits, and a rescue dog named Little Bit. When she’s not chauffeuring children or coming up with creative ways to kill people, you can usually find Karen hiding away with a book, dodging laundry, playing in the kitchen, or attending martial arts classes. She also teaches writing classes.

To join Karen’s Readers’ Circle and download a free book, please visit her at www.karenmacinerney.com. Not only will you be first to hear about new releases, but you’ll receive behind-the-scenes tidbits, deleted scenes, recipes, and even short stories! You can also find Karen on Twitter at @karenmacinerney and Facebook at www.facebook.com/AuthorKarenMacInerney or www.facebook.com/karenmacinerney (where she spends an inordinate amount of time). You are more than welcome to friend her there — and remind her to get back to work on the next book!

Posted in Book Reviews

A Tiny Collierville Murder by Abby Vandiver

Abby1Who doesn’t love books by Author, Abby Vandiver? “A Tiny Collierville Murder” is no exception. Her quirky characters, her writing style and now a tiny house series. I love tiny houses so a series with tiny houses as a feature in this cozy mystery series make it a winner. Add to the fact that it holds twists, turns and surprises you won’t expect along with a great cozy mystery. I don’t want to give away any secrets so read the blurb for information. I give it five stars and as always I can’t wait to read more of Abby Vandiver’s books.

 

A Tiny  Collierville Murder
A Tiny Collierville Murder

A Tiny Collierville Murder (A Tiny House Cozy Mystery #1)

There’s nothing tiny about murder!

Watch Tiny House on HGTV? Well, some of those miniature abodes are built on the Carter Ranch in Collierville, Tennessee, or so Nixie Culpepper has just been told, and she thinks they are just the cutest things! But her excitement is short lived when, not long after she lands at the ranch, she gets embroiled in a murder!

Nixie, a polyglot and black belt martial artist, is also addicted to designer wear. And while she can protect herself, and her little furry mixed-breed, Alfie, from danger, her credit cards are always being assaulted. She’s got a Japanese paternal grandmother who wants to be a YouTube star, and a Yugoslavian maternal grandfather who not only thinks he’s royalty, but loves Elvis, has an arsenal of corny jokes, and corresponds with Nixie regularly on FaceTime. But the murder of Big Willie Carter puts a halt to everything, and it’s up to Nixie to find out whodunit if she wants to leave Collierville and get back home to Connors Grove, New York with her brand new tiny house.

A fun new cozy series with Nixie Culpepper traveling the country with her dog and tiny house in tow.

Author Abby Vandiver

WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLING AUTHOR, Abby L. Vandiver has always loved to write, combining that with her gift for telling stories, and mystery she became an author.

All of her books have been Amazon #1 bestsellers. Her debut novel, In the Beginning and its sequels, Irrefutable Proof and Incarnate are fact mixed with fiction, mystery/sci-fi novels not written as action packed or fast paced, but as “what-if” alternative history stories. After those books were published, Abby switched to writing cozy mysteries. Finding much success, she has three series so far, Logan Dickerson Cozy Mystery, Normal Junction Cozy Mystery and Tiny House Mysteries. In 2017, she contracted with Henery Press in a 3-book deal to pen the series Romaine Wilder Mysteries. The first book, Secrets, Lies and Crawfish Pies comes out in June, 2018.

Although she writes mostly mystery, Abby has co-written a historical/women’s fiction novel with author and friend, Kathryn Dionne under the pen name Kathryn Longino, and a Kindle World, historical fiction book, Countdown to Atlantis. That book was inspired by the A.G. Riddle book, The Atlantis Gene.

Abby, a former lawyer and college professor, has a bachelor’s degree in Economics, a master’s in Public Administration, and a Juris Doctor. A lifetime resident of Cleveland, Ohio, Abby spends all of her time writing and enjoying her wonderful grandchildren.

Abby’s got many more books to come, so stay tuned!

Visit her: www.abbyvandiver.com
Email her: abbylvandiver@aol.com
Follow her: @AbbyVandiver
Keep up with new releases: www.bookbub.com/authors/abby-l-vandiver

Posted in Reading and Reviewing, Releases

Jezabelle is on a Blog Tour

My blog tour started on December 7. I am touring with Lori Caswell and Dollycas Tours.  I hope you will join me and Jezabelle Jingle from the Brilliant, Minnesota Cozy Mystery Series. You might learn more about Jezabelle as she blogs about her life in Brilliant or when she shares some of the recipes from her book. I might put my two cents worth in for a time or two. And then there are the reviews. I quake and shake when I know they are critiquing my work. Here is the schedule. Bookmark it and follow along. Be sure to share with your friends when you visit these sites as there are drawings. And for this month all my Kindle books are available for $.99. The set makes a great gift. But don’t forget they are all available in paperback too to buy for those you love at Christmas time. If you want a signed copy please email me and I will mail it to you direct and work out payment details. Smile, laugh and relax with a good book.

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

December 7 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE – E-Book Giveaway 

December 8 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 9 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

December 10 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 11 – T’s Stuff – INTERVIEW – E-Book Giveaway 

December 12 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 13 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST – Print Book Giveaway 

December 14 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

December 15 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW, GUEST POST

December 16 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT – E-Book Giveaway

December 17 – The Self-Rescue Princess – REVIEW

December 18 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 19 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

December 20 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Review: Murder By Chance by Pat Dennis

51zlS0jB+XLIt is no secret I am a fan of Pat Dennis. She makes me laugh and lightens my day. Murder By Chance certainly gave me a few chuckles along with a fun mystery. I love this series. This is the second book I have read in the Betty Chance Mystery Series.

The scenario is Casino in Minnesota and Betty has a tour business called “Take A Chance Tours”  but as with most of Betty’s tours something happens and this time it is a body on a bus. What happens next in her mysteries is anyone’s guess because the hapless, disorganized funny characters always create situations you can visualize in your mind, which make you want to be a fly on the wall to see how they manage the trouble that always seems to find them.

There are many surprises, a good mystery, a great ending and a fun bunch of characters and I use that term loosely. Follow Betty and “Take A Chance Tours” and I guarantee you will never look at bus tours in the same way.

Five stars as far as I’m concerned.

About Pat Dennis: Pat Dennis is an award-winning author and comedian. Pat is the author of HOTDISH TO DIE FOR, a collection of six culinary mystery short stories where hotdish is the weapon of choice (18 hotdish recipes are included). MURDER BY CHANCE is her debut novel in the Betty Chance mystery series. It is the story of a woman whose husband leaves her for an older fatter woman. Betty Chance was left penniless and deeply in debt. In order to earn a living, she opens a tour business for gambling junkets to casinos. All bets are off when she discovers a dead body, or two. KILLED BY CHANCE is the second book in the series, set in Biloxi, Mississippi. The third book in the series is DEAD BY CHANCE, set is Deadwood, South Dakota. Pat’s critically acclaimed humorous and touching travel memoir FAT OLD LADY IN LAS VEGAS: GAMBLING, DIETING, AND WICKED FUN was released in 2016. She is the contributing editor for HOTDISH HAIKU and WHO DIED IN HERE?, 25 mystery short stories by 25 premier storytellers where the crime occurs in the bathroom. Her novel STAND-UP AND DIE is a mystery set in the stand-up comedy world. Pat’s short stories have appeared in ANNE FRASIER’S DEADLY TREATS, The Minnesota Crime Wave’s SILENCE OF THE LOONS, RESORT TO MURDER, ONCE UPON A CRIME ANTHOLOGY, WRITES OF SPRING and the upcoming COOKED TO DEATH from Nodin Press. Her fiction and humor have been published in National Public Radio’s Minnesota Monthly, FMAM, Woman’s World, The Pioneer Press, and The Sun Current Newspapers. She is a veteran of 1,000 plus performances in comedy clubs, Fortune 500 special events, woman’s organizations, and church basements across the country. She has worked with such notables as Phyllis Diller, Lewis Black, Tommy Chong and Nick Swardson

Find Pat at:

Amazon

Website

 

Posted in Reading and Reviewing

A Book Review or A Personal Taste

Untitled DesignBook reviews are a complexity when trying to decipher if one wants to believe the reviews in researching whether to buy a book.

Recently I received a one-star review on one of my books that usually gets a four or five-star review on Amazon and Goodreads and Barnes and Noble. I read the choice review: This book must be written for 8-year-olds. They would likely get exhausted reading the same sentences over and over again. No real character development at all and Granny is boring.

I don’t have a hard time with a low star review if I feel a reviewer is fair.  I decided this review probably was fair because I chose to go further and research the person that left this little tidbit. The other books they reviewed were nothing like my cozy mystery. Most were a matter-of-fact or serious crime and mystery books. It was obvious to me that my writing style and choice of the genre were not something this reader would like. They titled the review “Don’t know why I finished this.” Frankly, I didn’t know why they did neither.

It differed from a recent five-star review: Granny is a senior citizen who still has a lot of life left in her, and she works undercover for the police, thwarting thieves. She’s a pure dee mess! How anyone could not like this book is beyond me, I’ve bought the series. I really like Granny!

If you look back through this reviewers books you will see that she enjoys the genre of cozy mysteries. So it would make sense she would like Granny.

If you are a reader or a consumer that reads the reviews so you can make a choice about a purchase then I would ask you to dig a little further. We as mystery writers are always looking for clues and you can join us in that pursuit when you read reviews.

Read more than one review and then check into the history of the reviewer. Are they leaving a review because the subject matter is just not their cup of tea and that is a reason they did or didn’t like it? Or are they leaving a review because they are fairly judging a product on its content and design or workability and not personal prejudice because of their taste?

I am not a sports fan. I would not be a good person to leave a review for a sports book no matter how well written. If I were leaving a fair review I would have to state that I am not interested in the subject and that my view was skewered by that fact.  If I felt it was poorly written but a good subject I would state that but I would also have to ask myself when I am leaving that review if I was being fair. Perhaps I wasn’t understanding the genre or the language of sports. The kind thing for me to do would be to leave no review at all because I probably could not view it with an unbiased eye.

As authors reviews can make or break us. We know we can’t always receive brilliant reviews but we ask our readers to be fair and kind. Authors have feelings too and we do follow our reviews and take into consideration constructive criticism to make our writing better for our readers. We love our readers.

I will say this about both my series of books, the Fuchsia Series and The Brilliant Series. The review in the second paragraph states there any character development in the book Because I write with the series in mind my characters develop over the series of books.

If you are patient while visiting Fuchsia you will find why Granny is the cantankerous person she is. What happened in her life and what personal hurtful experiences shaped how she acts. You will meet her family and the things that were kept hidden.

The same with Jezabelle and the characters from Brilliant Minnesota. What happened in Jezabelle’s youth that she didn’t marry the love of her life? Why is Phoebe rich and ditzy. What about her past is she hiding? Or Mr. Warbler and his secret that no one knows. All this is revealed over the series.

They are both filled with humor when addressing those subjects because in life if we don’t laugh during some of our sorrow it would take us under. My characters use humor to traverse life and the mysteries of their communities.

__________________________________________________________________

When we talk about reviews, what we are really talking about is just a market report – it’s like reading about the new Lexus. You have to know what the guy writing the review cares about to understand his take. Does he like sports cars, or does he like Bentleys?

Mike Nichols
Read more quotes at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/mikenichol615423.html

 

Posted in Guest Authors

Meet Author Abby Vandiver

 

I am excited to spotlight Author Abby Vandiver on my new blog today. I am in the midst of reading Bed and Breakfast Bedlam, book one in the Logan Dickerson mysteries, and I am loving it. I will be purchasing the rest. I love funny, quirky characters and Abby’s characters remind me of Granny and Jezabelle in my series of books. Abby is a cozy writer and I would highly recommend her books. What makes her visit exciting is that she is introducing her sixth installment of this series, South Seas Shenanigans. I have to read fast to catch up. Welcome, Abby.

 

Author Abby Vandiver

 

It’s the sixth installment of an Amazon #1 Best Selling cozy mystery series by Author Abby Vandiver! South Seas Shenanigans continues the adventures of amateur sleuths, Logan Dickerson, archaeologist, and Vivienne Pennywell, aka, Miss Vivee – a five-foot-nothing, ninety-something Voodoo herbalist. 

Fans of this series have enjoyed the unusual, rarely heard causes of death that only Miss Vivee and her new husband can recognize, and this one doesn’t disappoint! Sail away on a Fijian paradise vacation with Logan, Miss Vivee and Mac as they suffer the shenanigans of a prankster, dance the Meke, and solve an untimely death. Oh, wait! Did I say “a” death? Make that two! Can you guess whodunit?

Additionally, Abby is offering a boxed set of the first three books in the series. Both South Seas Shenanigans and the Logan Dickerson Cozy Mystery Boxed Set are set to be released March 29, 2017. Meanwhile, Abby had only planned to write one more book in the series, but in listening to her fans, she has decided to continue writing the series a little longer. Check out her website for more information.

Cozy Mystery Boxed Set

 

 A little more about the Author:

Through her various occupations, Abby discovered her love of writing. She’d always been told she had a gift for telling stories, combining the two, she became an author.

Her debut novel, the mystery/sci-fi, In the Beginning, Book I in the Mars Origin “I” Series was an Amazon #1 bestseller. It was written on a whim, packed away, and rediscovered some twelve years later. After publishing it in 2013, Abby decided to make writing a full-time endeavor. She’s penned a slew of novels since then and has even more in her head. Although she writes mostly mystery, she’s written a historical/women’s fiction novel. It was co-written with author and friend, Kathryn Dionne under the pen name Kathryn Longino. Currently, she is working on her first cozy mystery series. There will be at least five in the series, three, Bed & Breakfast Bedlam, Coastal Cottage Calamity, and Maya Mound Mayhem have already been published and are Amazon international bestsellers.

Abby, a former lawyer, and college professor, has a bachelor’s degree in Economics, a master’s in Public Administration, and a Juris Doctor. A lifetime resident of Cleveland, Ohio, Abby spends all of her time writing and enjoying her wonderful grandchildren.